Ownership at Skydive Paraclete XP – a local skydiving business – are taking some heat on social media, after a post about a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test from one of their jumpers.
Skydive Paraclete XP has both an indoor skydiving facility, and does traditional airport skydiving. It is located near the border of Cumberland and Hoke counties, with a Raeford address.
Tim D’Annunzio, the owner at Skydive Paraclete XP, said that they were notified Saturday of a positive test from a jumper at the airport skydiving facility earlier in the week. The jumper was said to have been wearing a mask and gloves throughout the day. But it was the D’Annunzio’s directness regarding coronavirus risks that caused some concern on various Facebook posts.
“Paraclete has been taking and will continue to take all the necessary precautions to mitigate the spread of this and any of the many other hundreds of viruses and bacteria we all encounter constantly,” D’Annunzio said in the post. “The ‘experts’ have said a mask and social distancing are necessary at this time. If you agree we urge you to wear a mask and keep your distance. Your health is your responsibility. (It’s like skydiving, we do all we can but ultimately it’s in your hands to do the greater part to protect yourself.
“If you’re worried about someone here having COVID-19, don’t come,” D’Annunzio continued. “This virus is going to be with us forever, as we’ve been told. If it isn’t here now it will be eventually, as it will be everywhere. Remember, testing here in NC is showing seven in every one hundred people are testing positive. No matter where you go, you have already or will eventually encounter someone with this virus.”
State officials implemented a face covering requirement last week, which went into effect Friday evening. The jumper had come to Paraclete XP before that mandate was in effect, but as was noted, wore a mask and gloves throughout the day.
A comment from Tabatha Westcott on the Watch Out Cumberland County NC post sharing the original post, said “The fact that they put ‘Experts’ in quotations makes me concerned that they aren’t taking sanitation as serious as they should.”
Others, like Michelle Williford Hallas, were happy to see the comments from Paraclete. “Exactly! Finally a company that speaks sense. You’re right – it is widespread and eventually will be everywhere at one point or another.”
D’Annunzio has been in the public eye before, having run for U.S. House in 2012 and 2016 as a Republican, and U.S. Senate in 2014 as a Libertarian. He ultimately lost all of those races at various points.